AQ Shipley injury adds another question for young Cardinals offense

Arizona Cardinals

News broke Monday Arizona Cardinals center AQ Shipley tore his ACL and would be replaced in the lineup by rookie Mason Cole.

This was always going to be a year of change for the Arizona Cardinals.

After finally bidding farewell to quarterback Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians, both of whom retired in the offseason, Arizona knew it would have to reimagine itself, especially on offense.

The magnitude of that transition escalated Monday when the Cardinals announced Shipley had torn his ACL during Friday evening practice. AZ Central Sports originally reported Shipley began to walk off the field after his injury before the team forced him onto a cart. That left some room for optimism.

It was all shut down by Monday’s announcement, which coincided with head coach Steve Wilks’ decision to hand the job to rookie third-round pick Mason Cole. The Cardinals released their first depth chart Monday.

Cole was listed at the starting center opposite newcomers Justin Pugh and Andre Smith on the right side, plus D.J. Humphries, getting another shot on the blind side after missing 11 games in 2017. Veteran Mike Iupati will fill out the offensive line at left guard.

But with Wilks, free agent quarterback Sam Bradford and rookie Josh Rosen all getting situated in Arizona, an injury to the starting center is worrisome. Shipley started all 16 games at center each of the last two seasons.

“[Cole] has a proven track record to be able to come in and be successful. I’m excited about his opportunity, but I’m very disappointed in the loss of A.Q.,” Wilks told AZ Central Sports.

Cole played left tackle at times during his Michigan career, meaning his pass-blocking could potentially be a step up from Shipley if his adjustments come quickly as a rookie. Shipley almost always plays inside. The rookie’s ability to pass-block would be a gift for the new Cardinals quarterbacks.

A transitional year just became even more chaotic in Arizona.

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